Forecast Discussion:

Before we look our drying forecast, let’s look at our drying land. Figure 1 is the long term drought analysis. We are now in moderate drought. The Western U.S. has the drier land, but it will be receiving rainfall/snowfall for the next month or more.

Figure 2 is the surface map for today, and it IS still dry here. And warming up.

The longer range forecast:

Our next front comes in Thursday PM into Friday AM, but precipitation amounts seem to be in the coating to a dusting level (Figure 3).

The GFS in Figure 4 doesn’t give Longmont measurable snow through Friday PM. Earlier today, this model gave us 6-8 inches of snow through the next 10 days, but the 10 day forecast in Figure 5 is now under 1 inch. Similarly, the long range for the snow after the weekend on Figure 3 was in the 4-8 inch region, now it is small amounts of daily snow for a while. Obviously, the models don’t have this system figured out yet.

The longer range European hints at 8-9 inches falling here by the end of the month, but we’ll take that one storm at a time.

Figure 1: The Palmer long-term drought conditions from NOAA.
Figure 2: The forecast surface map for Tuesday PM. From NCEP.
Figure 3: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
Figure 4: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, through Friday PM.
Figure 5: the forecast accumulated snow map from the GFS and weather5280.com for Colorado, through the next 10 days.
Figure 6: The European model snowfall accumulation through the end of February from weatherbell.com
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John Ensworth works from Longmont as the Principle Investigator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate Earth and space science education product review through the IGES (The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies – www.strategies.org) . He is in his 14th year running this review. He is an astronomer (from the 2nd grade onward) and became a meteorologist (in the 5th grade) when a thunderstorm in Arizona rained on his telescope when the weather service had only forecasted a 10% chance of rain. He has college degrees in physics and astronomy and climatology and a graduate degree in meteorology and earth science. He lectures at the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, the Estes Park Memorial Observatory in Estes Park, and for a number of online universities. He built and runs a backyard observatory near Pace and 17th in northeast Longmont where he has lived for 8 years with his wife, daughter, son, and two cats. Invitations to open house nights at this observatory, LTO, and EPMO will be posted with future discussions when they are scheduled. Forecasting severe weather and snow amounts via text lead to this column. He began texting friends about the weather right after the September 2013 flood. The readers of this column will, hopefully, keep him honest in what he ‘thought’ he had forecasted for ‘the most recent’ storm.

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